Wired fences are labour intensive, and hinder efficient grazing and forage production. A virtual fencing system overcomes these problems. Wageningen Livestock Research collaborated in the development of such a method and tested the applicability on its Dairy Campus.
Collar replaces fence
Cows wear a collar with a sensor to register her field position and to signal the cow. The cow receives signals as soon as she comes too close to, or threatens to overstep the by GPS coordinates defined virtual fence. This method offers farmers the possibility to graze cows according to their needs. It allows the use of new grazing routines, e.g. give top producing cows in a group priority access to a fresh (highest quality) grass strip. Cows quickly learn how to adequately react to the signals.
The next step towards large scale implementation is technological development of the system into a reliable, sustainable and cost-efficient product.